Malaysian automaker Proton having teamed up with Al-Haj Automotive launched the X70 in December 2020 and Saga in April 2021, but got off to a very shaky start in Pakistan where newcomers such as Kia, Changan and Hyundai have already established their names in a short span of time.
According to stats released by AutoJournal.pk on its Facebook page, Proton managed to sell only 1,233 units in Pakistan during the entire calendar year 2021. Out of these, 1,052 were CBU units of X70 and Saga combined whereas only 181 were locally assembled CKD units. Part of this has to be blamed for the delayed deliveries of CKD parts due to COVID-19 lockdowns enforced in Malaysia during the mid of 2021, however the X70 was launched in Pakistan almost 6 months before that, while Saga was introduced a couple of months before the production in Malaysian plants came to a halt.
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Furthermore the Proton assembly plant in Karachi that received the manufacturing certificate from EDB (Engineering Development Board) in September 2021, was obviously not ready to roll out locally assembled units during all these months. Finally the first local assembled Proton Saga rolled off the assembly lines in October 2021 while line-off ceremony of local assembled X70 held recently in January 2022.
At present Al-Haj Proton reportedly has more than 1,000 pending orders in hand, with many customers waiting to get the deliveries of their Proton vehicles for over a year already. According to sources, the current production rate is around 8-10 vehicles a day which would require Proton to clear up the pending orders in more than 5 more months unless it decides to ramp up the production rate.
Recently Proton customers have also shared the news on social media that as per Proton dealerships, the assembling & deliveries of Saga will see a further delay of up to 3 months due to a chip issue. Some customers even claimed that the ready Saga units are not being delivered due to some ‘technical issue’.
Proton owners sharing their experiences & opinion on the fan pages of X70 and Saga
Al-Haj Proton was already being heavily criticized for mishandling the launch of these vehicles coupled with super delays in deliveries, however it received another major blow to its reputation with a massive price increase in November 2021 which was made applicable to all those customers who were patiently waiting to get deliveries of their cars since several months. Many people have already canceled the bookings and shifted to other available options in the market.
Furthermore, the impact of the recently imposed supplementary financial bill by the government which brings added duties & taxes on automobiles is yet to be witnessed as Proton is expected to announce the revised prices of its vehicles soon. Although Proton X70 and Saga are very promising cars considering the price & features, but the way the launch & deliveries are being handled by the company has put a really bad impression on the brand name which Proton will have to work really hard to overcome.
A 3d animation professional with over 20 years of industry experience having served in leading organizations & production facilities of Pakistan, an avid car enthusiast and petrolhead with an affection to deliver writings to help shape opinions. Formerly written for PakWheels as well as major publications including Dawn. Founder of CarSpiritPK.com